Sunday, September 06, 2009
When the Last Tree Falls
C.S. Lewis, The Future of Forestry
How will the legend of the age of trees
Feel, when the last tree falls in England?
When the concrete spreads and the town conquers
The country's heart; when contraceptive
Tarmac's laid where farm has faded,
Tramline flows where slept a hamlet,
And shop-fronts, blazing without a stop from
Dover to Wrath, have glazed us over?
Simplest tales will then bewilder
The questioning children, 'What was a chestnut?
Say what it means to climb a Beanstalk,
Tell me, grandfather, what an elm is.
What was Autumn? They never taught us.'
Then, told by teachers how once from mould
Came growing creatures of lower nature
Able to live and die, though neither
Beast nor man, and around them wreathing
Excellent clothing, breathing sunlight
Half understanding, their ill-acquainted
Fancy will tint their wonder-paintings
Trees as men walking, wood-romances
Of goblins stalking in silky green,
Of milk-sheen froth upon the lace of hawthorn's
Collar, pallor in the face of birchgirl.
So shall a homeless time, though dimly
Catch from afar (for soul is watchful)
A sight of tree-delighted Eden.
Related posts: The Hamadryads of George Lane
; Sorbs and Medlars
; So Foul a Deed
; Like Another Erysichthon
; The Fate of Old Trees
; Scandalous Misuse of the Globe
; The Groves Are Down
; Anagyrasian Spirit
; Butchers of Our Poor Trees
; Cruel Axes
; Odi et Amo
; Kentucky Chainsaw Massacre
; Protection of Sacred Groves
; Lex Luci Spoletina
; Turullius and the Grove of Asclepius
; Caesarian Section
; Death of a Noble Pine
; Two Yew Trees in Chilthorne, Somerset
; The Fate of the Shrubbery at Weston
; The Trees Are Down
; Sad Ravages in the Woods
; Strokes of Havoc
; Maltreatment of Trees
; An Impious Lumberjack
; Erysichthon in Ovid
; Erysichthon in Callimachus